Friday, August 31, 2007

Poll results

Well, it seems like Rihanna's already a winner, at least with voters here. She beat out Beyoncé by receiving 82% of the votes. Beyoncé received 17% of votes. Well, we'll see at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 9.

Have a good weekend, peoples. See you in a few weeks, si Dieu veux.

Fun Friday: Fave rappers turned movie stars

These days, it seems that it's all the rage to be multifaceted in the entertainment industry. It's not enough to be just a singer; you now have a breed of singer-designer (clothes, shoes, jewellery)-actor-model-dancer, you name it. Of course, some of them are Jacks of all trades and masters of none, but I digress.

This trend is particularly obvious among rappers, with 50 Cent, Eminem and T.I. appearing in movies in recent years. However, there're some other actors who are doing the acting thing and doing it well, and here are my faves:

10. Ice T. I practically grew up seeing Ice T in movies, since he started dabbling in acting since 1984's Breakin'. New Jack City and a host of other movies followed. These days, he's honing his acting skills on television on Law and Order.

9. Eve. Although Evie Eve is perhaps best known on screen from the Barbershop movies, she has had parts in the little seen The Woodsman, The Cookout and the first XXX movie. She's not the strongest of actors but she has a lot of spunk and her roles can only keep getting better.

8. Common. There ain't nothing common about Common. Although he's relatively new to movies he's a veteran in the rap game, and has an onscreen presence that many other actors would envy. He owned his scenes in Smokin' Aces, and I can't wait to see him in action in the upcoming Night Watchman, Wanted and American Gangster. He ain't hard to watch, period....

7. Ludacris. I wasn't overly impressed with Ludacris in 2Fast 2Furious , but I sat up and took notice of his skills in Crash, where he played a philosophical thief, and Hustle and Flow, where he was an over-the-top entertainer. Come to think of it, he was way too good in that role to be acting....

6. DMX. Although I'm not toally sold on DMX as an actor, he nevertheless made some half-way entertaining movies, such as Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 the Grave and Never Die Alone. Now, if only he would get some therapy he'd be a force to be reckoned with....

5. Snoop Dogg. Snoop has made a career out of his pot-smoking, cadillac driving persona, and while I don't approve of everything he does, he's a natural actor. His roles in Baby Boy, Training Day and Starsky and Hutch are some of my favourites, though he better not make another Soul Plane movie....

4. Ice Cube. As cool as his moniker suggests, Ice Cube has tried it all: drama (Boyz N the Hood, Higher Learning); action (XXX 2, Three Kings, Anaconda); and comedy (Are We There Yet?, Are We Done Yet, Friday, Next Friday, Friday After Next). The only thing left is romantic comedies, or is he too cool for that?

3. LL Cool J. Before LL Cool J came along in Deep Blue Sea, it was always the black guy who died first in horror movies. Not only did he survive but he blew the heck outa that shark too. His résumé includes In Too Deep, Any Given Sunday, Charlie's Angels, Rollerball, Deliver Us From Eva, SWAT, Mindhunters and Last Holiday. He needs more roles...preferably where he gets to take off his shirt....

2. Queen Latifah. Dana Owens has lived up to her nickname, and is true royalty whether behind the mike or in front of the camera. From the days of Living Single we knew she could act, but she really stepped up her game in Set It Off and got people talking. The Bone Collector, Barbershop, Taxi, Beauty Shop, Last Holiday, Bringing Down the House and more followed. She was nominated for an Oscar for Chicago and critical acclaim is coming in for Hairspray. Long live the Queen!

1. Will Smith. Who else could take the number one spot but the Fresh Prince himself? He has the patent for the rapper to movie star transition down pat. He took a big chance as a gay character in Six Degrees of Separation, and did his action man thing in hits such as Independence Day, Bad Boys 1 and 2, Men in Black 1 and 2, I, Robot, Enemy of the State and Wild Wild West; got romantic in Hitch; and got nominated for Oscars in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness. And just the other day I was singing along to Parents of Today Just Don't Understand....

Honourable mention - Tupac Shakur. Gone too soon for sure, we saw glimpses of Tupac's thespian ability in Juice, Poetic Justice and Above the Rim. Rest in peace, bro.

Update: Family recovered from Brittons Hill site

Minister of Home Affairs, Dale Marshall is at this moment reporting that the bodies of all five members of the Codrington family have been recovered from the cavern at Brittons Hill. He added that two autopsies have been conducted so far. Both he and the emergency coordinator, Dr. Brian Charles, thanked everyone involved in the effort.

Meanwhile, a trust fund has been set up to assist Doniya Linton, the three-month-old daughter of Donavere and Cassandra Codrington. Click here for more details.

Ghetto Fabulous Part Three

Disclaimer. Ghetto Fabulous is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons is coincidental.

My fingers trembled as I peeled back the slip of paper to reveal my “A” Level scores. I held my breath as my eyes ran down the column. English – B, Spanish – B, History – B. Award of an Exhibition.

Blood rushed to my head and I clutched the document to my chest and jumped up and down, grinning from ear to ear.

“Thank you, Jesus, I passed everything.” My best friend Veronica Catwell exhaled in relief and clutched my arm. "How you did?”

I showed her my slip as we walked away from the Principal’s office, where the results were being distributed. Around us, the faces of the other students mirrored the information received; some looked glum, others were jubilant; yet others were in tears.

“Exhibition, girl. Congrats.” Veronica hugged me and I congratulated her on receiving two C’s and a B.

“If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have done so well, Allie,” she smiled gratefully and linked her arm through mine as we walked back to our form room.

“Well, it’s thanks to you that I had somewhere quiet to study,” I assured her.

Veronica lived in a five-bedroom, three bathroom mini-mansion in Oxnards. Her parents, both lawyers, were hardly ever at home and Veronica and her 10-year old brother Simon were practically raised by a housekeeper. We spent many an evening at her house preparing for exams in peace and quiet that would not have been possible at my home.

I strongly believed that Veronica’s parents only tolerated me because I kept their daughter on a focused study path. Carefree and slightly spoiled, Veronica was not the most dedicated student in the world. While I recognised that studies would be my springboard to professional success, Veronica saw school as just somewhere to be between 8:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Now that she had been successful in her “A” Levels and was University-bound, I wondered whether my presence in the Catwell household would be looked on as favourably as before.

Later that evening, I shared the news of my Exhibition with my family.

“I never had doubt you could do it,” my mother declared, folding the slip of paper with my results almost reverently, “when I catch my hand, I goin’ give you a little somethin’.”

I smiled inwardly. Mummy always expressed her feelings towards her children with money or food, just like Granny. Hugs and kisses were never a part of their socialisation.

“That’s okay, I know things rough. Anyhow, the Exhibition should cover the tuition, books, everything.”

“You plan to go Cave Hill or overseas?” Suzette queried from her place on the front house carpet where she and the two older children were colouring and drawing. The baby was asleep soundly on a blanket nearby.

Before I could reply Mummy cut in. “Overseas, obviously. Wuh point it is getting an Exhibition and studying ‘bout here? Besides, these foolish employers in Barbados like they does only respect yuh if yuh study over in away. Dem ain’ care if yuh degree come from University of Pudding and Souse, once it overseas.”

Suzette and I laughed, which started off my niece and nephew, who always liked a good laugh even though most of the time they didn’t understand what the joke was about.

“Yuh all very happy in here tonight. Wuh happen?” Daddy walked in, touching each of his grandchildren on the head and playfully slapping Suzette and I with his Nike cap before joining Mummy on the small sofa.

Mummy sucked her teeth and pulled her flowered duster closer to her small bosom. “We must be happy, you wasn’t home. Anyhow, your chile pass she exams and get an Exhibition.”

Daddy’s eyes lit up and he held out his arms. “Come here girl, that’s good news. Wait till I tell Dove and the other fellas.”

He stopped in mid-hug and asked: “Wait, wuh today’s date is? These got to be lucky numbers!”

As he and Mummy started to quarrel, I sighed and headed to my room.

That's all for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed.

Happy Independence, T&T!

Cheese-on-bread extends congrats to Trinidad and Tobago, which celebrates its 45th Anniversary of Independence today. Despite any differences we might have, all yuh is still family.

Click here to read the Trinidad Express' Independence editorial, and here to see which Trinidadians received national honours.

Photo of Port-of-Spain:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ghetto Fabulous Part Two

Disclaimer. Ghetto Fabulous is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons is coincidental.

Our tiny two-bedroom, board and wall house could have gone unnoticed in the row of similar houses situated in a small community on the edge of the capital Bridgetown. What set it apart from the others was its vibrant yellow colour and small verandah painted in a shade of blue. That, and the red, gold and green flag fluttering from a pole atop the roof of the wooden room my older brother Colin, the resident Rastafarian, had added on to the house.

My mother and Colin had argued bitterly over the flag. Mummy didn’t want the neighbours to think the entire household subscribed to that “Rasta sh**e”, while Colin declared that he could no longer be a part of a family that did not allow him to express his beliefs. Since Mummy depended on the small financial contribution Colin made to the household, and since Colin, for all his bravado, was not yet willing to rough it in the country with his new “brethren”, a truce was called. The flag was not flown on Sundays.

My parents DaCosta Mayers and Cyralene Carter were both in their mid-forties, and had been together since their school days at the Modern High School. My father had never seen the need to marry, and my mother had given up trying to convince him otherwise. My maternal grandmother Evadne Carter was not my father’s biggest fan, and stated on more than one occasion that if her daughter was “good enough to get children, she was good enough to marry”.

Some men had women as their vice, others alcohol. My father’s vice was gambling. I grew up hearing him relate tales of gambling on cockfights, dog fights and horses. These days, it was the local lotteries and the slot machines in Marhill Street. Even before he was made redundant from one of the top factories in the island, his free time was filled with choosing number combinations, shading in the numbers on the pink and white lottery forms and then strolling to the mini mart at the end of the gap to purchase the tickets. He sometimes got lucky, but those times were few and far between.

Even with a man in the house, my mother was the undisputed head of our household. When I was aged nine or ten, I remember going with her to the factory one Friday afternoon to collect her share of my father’s wages. Embarrassed, I shifted from leg to leg and listened to the other half dozen women who had come on the same mission.

“This is bare foolishness. You think I had right to be out here in the hot sun like I collecting school children?” one fat dark-skinned woman in an acid wash jeans skirt and pink t-shirt fumed as she pulled an umbrella out of her handbag.

“Miss thing, you know if we doan’ come here on payday by the time the drunken b*tches get home all the money gone,” another lady pitched in as the others nodded in agreement.

“Mind wunna language please, my child here,” Mummy frowned at the group.

Before they could launch into more tales of their boyfriends’ and husbands’ shortcomings, a whistle blew signaling the end of the day’s work. The women watched expectantly as the men trooped towards the gate. I spotted Daddy, dark and slim and still wearing overalls and boots, heading in our direction. My mother’s grip on my hand tightened as she steeled herself for the encounter.

“Cyralene Carter, why you bring my child here for?” Daddy’s face was set up like a thundercloud.

“Because I can’ trust you to walk straight, that’s why. Gimme the little money so I can get in Ricks before it close, do.”

Grumbling, he reached into his pocket and peeled off four fifty-dollar bills from the small roll of cash. Before he could hand it to Mummy, she snatched the money and removed another two bills.

“The light bill high this month,” she said as she returned what was left.

“Listen, if Allison wasn’t here I would ‘buse you, woman. You think I’s a li'l boy or wuh? How I suppose to buy a little drink for the fellas wid this pocket change?” He waved a fifty-dollar note as he spoke.

“Win some more, nuh.” She turned and we headed down to the main road to catch the bus to ‘town.

My mother wasn’t a large woman. Barely five feet two inches, brown-skinned and shapely, she looked far younger than her forty-five years. Of the three of us, Suzette resembled her the most; Colin and I were dark-skinned like our father.

Since Daddy lost his job, Mummy sold vegetables on Saturdays in Cheapside market along with her regular job as a janitor at a nearby primary school. With our mother’s two jobs, Suzette’s small income, Colin’s on and off landscaping work and my summer jobs, we were able to keep the creditors at bay and fill the apparently bottomless pit of need experienced by a household of eight.

Fiction - Ghetto Fabulous

Hi, peoples. Tomorrow will be my last day of blogging for a while. I'm heading overseas on a course and I'll be away for about three weeks. As usual, I like to leave you a little reading material, and during the day I'll post up a story I started a year go by the name of Ghetto Fabulous. I never got around to entering it for NIFCA, and it's still to be completed. I think I'm going to need a leave of absence from work to finish all these stories....

Ghetto Fabulous is the story of a Barbadian teenager named Allison Mayers who lives on the outskirts of Bridgetown. A bright and focused student, Allison yearns for more than her "ghetto" upbringing can provide, and some peace away from her dysfunctional family. But is the "fabulous" life of upper-class Barbadian society all it's cracked up to be? Hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer. Ghetto Fabulous is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons is coincidental.

Part One

There has to be more to life than this. Lord, there just has to be.

I frowned at my reflection in the mirror as I dusted the shabby wooden dresser.

I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life in this place. Going nowhere fast.

“Wait Allison, you ain’t done yet? You does take long to do everything, then!” My sister Suzette barged into our tiny bedroom, hands filled with packages from her weekly Saturday morning shopping in the City.

“If you were here to help I would get through faster, disgrace.” I replaced the deodorant, body lotion and perfume bottles on the dresser and turned my attention to dusting my favourite possession in the room, my mahogany-finished bookcase.

My sister sucked her teeth. She hated when I used the nickname she had been saddled with in recent months. Suzette had delivered her third child, Davonne, three months earlier, adding to her brood of D’wayne, five and Damesha, three. Our grandmother said Suzette was not only a disgrace for having three children by different fathers at 21, but also for giving them all “new-fashion” names beginning with “d”.

“She’s a “d” word too, a disgrace,” Granny fumed. Nevertheless, because she knew it wasn’t her great-grandchild’s fault its mother had yet again brought shame on the family, our grandmother presented Suzette with a bag filled with diapers, milk and clothes.

“Where the other people that live in here?” Suzette dropped her parcels on the floor, spilling afro-kinky hair weave, styling gel and other cosmetics on the tattered bedroom rug.

“It’s Saturday. I’m the only idiot who gets stuck in the house on Saturdays,” I retorted, shooting a dirty look in the direction of the bags on the floor. Suzette saw the look and, muttering about my “neat freakiness”, began to push the items under the bed. I sighed. Sometimes I felt like I was the older sibling, rather than three years Suzette’s junior.

“Mummy took Damesha with her to work, Daddy down by Dove, the children’s fathers came for them and Colin went ‘town too.” I rattled off the whereabouts of our household as I straightened the books on the shelf.

“I hope dem clowns remember to leave the child money. I ain’ bout running down nuhbody today.”

I told her that her former boyfriends had indeed left their monetary support. Suzette grinned broadly and ran to the front-house and retrieved the envelopes that I had placed under Mummy’s plaster-of-Paris Dalmatian.

“Remember D’wayne needs new school shoes and Damesha’s preschool fees due!” I yelled from the bedroom. That sister of mine probably already had plans for the money, I thought. Along the lines of a hairdo and new outfit.

To say that Suzette was not a loving mother to her three children would be a lie. She loved her children immensely. However, she loved being a 21 year old, attractive woman just as much. She was one of those lucky women who seemed to revert almost instantly to their original weight after pregnancy, so much so that it was almost impossible to guess from her figure that she had three children.

Brown-skinned and shapely, Suzette tended to be the centre of attention wherever she went and men loved her. That was one part of her problem. The other part was that she never met a guy to whom she could say no.

First came Chris, who attended the same secondary school as Suzette and came from a well-off St. James family. To say that his parents were displeased was an understatement. By the time they had gathered up enough courage to come to our house on the outskirts of the City to convince our mother to intervene, Suzette was already ten weeks along. An abortion was out of the question, Mummy declared, stating that she would not be a party to destroying any human life. When D’wayne was born, Chris’ parents instantly fell in love with the baby and a truce was called.

Then came John. A gold-toothed sweet talker, he worked as a minibus conductor along the route Suzette took to her job as a receptionist in Christ Church. She fell for him hard and dumped Chris. John disappeared when he heard Suzette was pregnant with Damesha and the last thing we heard he had moved to St. Vincent.

Ryan the construction worker followed. I had hoped he and Suzette would work out because he was hardworking and honestly loved my sister and her children, but, as Granny said, Suzette only liked to look down and not up, and she had broken off with him just after Davonne was born. She told him she was suffering from “post parting depression”. He took a hint and moved on.

To give Jack his jacket, Chris and Ryan supported their children well, and Damesha was lavished with as much love and attention as possible to make up for her lack of a father.

I didn’t have a boyfriend. Not when I saw where men had gotten Suzette. I planned to study, get a good job and get out of the ghetto before it was too late.

Thursday links

Two bodies recovered from Arch Hall site
We definitely need to pray right now
Grenada's PM is having his worse year ever

The Mighty Sparrow hearts Obama too
Mandela gets well-deserved honour
War rages on in Iraq
Who's Rihanna dating now?
Other artists really love Umbrella

Photo of Nelson Mandela:

Common videos in the sidebar

Music videos from rapper Common are now being featured in the sidebar. A conscious rapper who has been around for a long time, Common is a breath of fresh air and a good change from the women-bashing, bling-toting rappers out there. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The sad story of Arch Cot

Well, we've moved into day four of the Arch Cot, Brittons Hill tragedy. After praying that the Codrington family would be found alive, I'm now hoping that the bodies of the five members of the Codrington family will be recovered so that their family can have closure to this tragic event.

After spending several hours at Brittons Hill yesterday, I just wanted to make some observations and ask some questions:

1. Arch Cot really is a "ground zero". It's hard to reconcile the neat, landscaped neighbourhood that I sometimes pass on my way to work with what I saw yesterday. The eerie stillness of the empty homes closest to the caved-in apartment building contrasted with the noise of generators, excavators and officials giving orders.

On my way in, (I wasn't sure which way to go and ended up going through St. Cyprian's school yard) I passed through the driveway of a neighbouring home, stepped over a collapsed chain link fence and skirted the overturned racing car that was recovered from the rubble earlier in the week. That brought me directly opposite the shelf on which the apartment stood. Beyond was a sheer drop to the cavern below. I realised too that the house to the right of the cave-in (pictured above) was starting to show signs of structural damage as well.

2. There were so many Government ministers on the site I thought it was a Cabinet meeting. Dale Marshall was there, seemingly doing everything except operate the excavator, and five other Cabinet ministers were in attendance at different points during the night. PM Arthur must be so proud....

3. The trying and tragic circumstances brought out the good in a lot of people. I saw firemen, policemen, BDF soldiers, civil servants, DEO and CERO personnel, Roving Response teams, Almond Beach staff (provided food), crane operators, etc. working non-stop on the site. Of course there were a few cooks spoiling the broth but they were negligible.

4. Although fewer in number when compared to Sunday, there were still scores of persons pressed up to the barricades, watching the recovery effort. Since officials were expecting to recover the bodies last night, the crowd was watching attentively as the recovery teams were inserted and later lifted from the cavern. The body language and expressions of the BDF and fire personnel who comprised the rescue teams were scrutinised to see if they had encountered the bodies.

As I looked around the neighbourhood, the questions that came to me were: What's going to happen to these homes? Will residents be compensated? Who will compensate them? Did the builders of the homes have permission to build there? Who gave them the permission? I'm not even sure there are any immediate answers because this is a totally novel experience for us Bajans.

Well, first things first. Hopefully we'll find the victims of the cave-in, mourn their loss and then take it from there. In the meantime, please support Starcom Network's Brittons Hill Back on Your Feet Again Appeal. Starcom is collecting items for the residents displaced by the cave-in. These items include new toiletries, linens, non-perishable food items, stationery and school items. Donation barrels have been placed in the lobby of Starcom Network, River Road. I'll update you as I get more information.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Brittons Hill Cave-In (Car Recovery)

Martin Luther King, Jr.: I Have a Dream

Forty-four years ago on this date, Baptist minister and civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered one of his hallmark speeches on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. His famous speech, which was dubbed "I Have a Dream", is credited with mobilising supporters of desegregation and prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The next year, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Let's remember this important figure and try to carry on the legacy he left behind.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rescue switched to recovery mode

It's looking like there won't be a happy ending to the Brittons Hill tragedy. The latest reports are that the sniffer dogs have detected no sign of life, while the cadaver dog has found two sites where bodies might be located.

At an 11:35 a.m. press conference, PM Arthur stated that the families of the victims had been informed that it was unlikely their loved ones had survived the cave-in. He added that the procedure would be moved from rescue to recovery with haste since a tropical wave was expected to affect the island later today.

On behalf of the Cheese-on-bread contributors, I would like to extend deepest sympathies to the families of Donavere Codrington, his wife Cassandra, and children Shaquanda, Shaquille and Yashiro. May God be with you at this time.

For the latest photos and information on this tragedy, check out Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground. The Nations News site has crashed, probably under the weight of all the hits.

Keep safe, all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Prayers for Brittons Hill family

It's another sad Sunday in Bim. As many of you might have heard by now, a section of an apartment building in Brittons Cross Road, St. Michael, collapsed into a cave, trapping a family of five.

About 45 minutes ago, Prime Minister Arthur and other Cabinet members updated the media on the rescue efforts, and they stated that a specially-trained, 12-person rescue team from Miami-Dade County in Florida is to arrive in Barbados around 8:00 tonight. Dogs trained in rescues such as this are also being flown in.

I'm asking everyone out there to please pray for the couple and three children trapped underground, and for the persons carrying out the rescue efforts. It's going to be a long night.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Fun Friday - Ten movie star to tv fame faves

What do Denzil Washington, Johnny Depp, Bruce Willis and George Clooney have in common? They began their acting careers on television and later went on to mega movie stardom. But what about those actors who do the reverse? Well, they're often though of as washed up has-beens, but for some, success on television and cable has been oh so sweet.

Here are ten of my fave movie to tv/cable transplants. There're more out there but these are the ones I'm familiar with:

10. Sarah Jessica Parker. While it may not be 100% true to say that Parker made her name in movies before television (I still remember her from 3-2-1 Contact days), I first took notice of her in 1985's Girls Just Want to Have Fun. She also appeared in Footloose, the First Wives Club and more before really making it big as Carrie Bradshaw on Sex in the City. Thanks to her, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and cosmopolitans became household names.

9. Dominic Monaghan. When I first spotted Dominic Monaghan on Lost I thought, wait, isn't he the small fella from Lord of the Rings? Indeed he was, and little Merry the hobbit had a good run as Charlie the castaway on the hit ABC drama. I still miss Frodo, Pippin and the rest of the gang, though....

8. Rebecca Romijn. A lot of people didn't even realise that Rebecca Romijn starred in the X-men trilogy because she was covered from head to toe in blue paint for her role as shape shifter Mystique. In Ugly Betty, she's the sex change character Alex/Alexis who loves to stir up trouble. Nothing much has changed....

7. Geena Davis. Before becoming the United States' first female Commander-in Chief, at least on tv, Geena Davis found fame as the character Thelma from the cult hit Thelma and Louise. And of course she did a commendable job as the assassin Charlie Baltimore in Long Kiss Goodnight. All hail the Chief!

6. Jennifer Beals. To me, Jennifer Beals will always be that cool chick from Flashdance. Back in the 80's she had people going around with sweatshirts hanging off one shoulder. She's still a bad chick, but in a different way. If you've ever watched The L Word on Showtime you'll know what I mean....

5. Pam Grier. Ms. Foxy Brown herself is still doing her thing, appearing on The L Word as the sister of Jennifer Beals' character. The Queen of Blaxploitation movies, she made her mark long before settling into series television.

4. Felicity Huffman. My fave girl from Desperate Housewives is a bona fide Oscar and Golden Globe nominated actress. Like many of the other persons listed here she dabbled with television as well. I love me some Lynette. She crazy.

3. Martin Sheen. The patriarch of the Sheen family of actors was born to play the President of the United States, which he did until last year in The West Wing. His acting credits are a mile long, but he'll always be remembered as President Bartlett.

2. Vanessa Williams. I cheated on this one because I couldn't leave my girl out. She's more a music star than a movie star per se, but she did a good job in Shaft, Soul Food, Eraser and other films. As Ugly Betty's Wilhelmina Slater she has me in a quandary ever week; I should dislike her but she's so much fun to watch.

1. Kiefer Sutherland. Name five movies Kiefer Sutherland appeared in. Can't do it, huh? His character of Jack Bauer on Fox's 24 is so overwhelming that it has erased my memory of his movies. Do Stand By Me, The Lost Boys, Young Guns, Flatliners, A Few Good Men, A Time to Kill, or The Three Musketeers ring a bell? And there're plenty more besides those.

Have a good weekend!

Poll results + new poll on MTV Video of the Year

The news media across the region are reporting that Jamaica's upcoming elections are too close to call, and that opinion was also reflected in our poll results. Last week's question was "Who do you believe would do a better job as PM of Jamaica, Portia Simpson-Miller or Bruce Golding". The voting ended at a 50-50 split. Well, we'll find out soon enough how things will go, once Sister P gets around to confirming the new date for elections.

For this week's poll, check out the five videos below and vote on who you think will win the MTV Video of the Year Award: Rihanna, Beyonce, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake or Amy Winehouse. Have fun!

Rihanna - Umbrella (mv)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

MOBO nomination for Rihanna

Rihanna has been nominated in the category “Best International Act,” as the nominees for the 12th Annual MOBO Awards were announced by MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Organisation on Wednesday at London’s Movida Nightclub.

The MOBO Awards will be handed out at a ceremony at the O2 Arena on September 19.

Our girl's nominations are piling up. A Grammy nomination would be the icing on the cake....

Photo: Just

Beyonce Knowles - Irreplaceable

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beyonce bans Rihanna

So much for no feud. Young, Black and Fabulous is reporting that last week at the launch party for Tina Knowles' (Beyonce's mother) clothing line House of Dereon in Toronto, Beyonce's camp ordered the DJ NOT to play any of Rihanna's music.

Apparently, just before Beyonce, her mother and sister Solange made their entrance into the launch party, members of the Knowles camp relayed a message to the DJ not to let any of Rihanna's music hit her turntables.

Rumour-mongering or an all out feud? Beats me, but I'm sure it'll translate into more album sales for our girl Rih Rih. Beyonce must be really feeling threatened to pull a move like that. Anyhoo, Rihanna looks like she can hold her own against the Queen of Weave....


Are we really ready to "face it - fix it" in Bim?

Well, well. It seems that there's never a dull moment in Barbados. Between the ongoing BS&T saga, the squatting situation and now the NCF being relieved of its duties as producer of Crop Over, there's no lack of news to talk about.

In terms of the NCF saga, what paticularly peaked my interest was a comment attributed to Prime Minister Owen Arthur, in which he was reported as encouraging participants at a Crop Over stakeholders meeting to use the "face it - fix it" approach as they set about the task of identifying the problems facing the cultural industries and looked for solutions.

That sounds lovely in theory, but the cynic in me says that it would never work in Barbados because for too long we've been accustomed to burying our heads in the sand and pretending all is well. Years ago calypsonian John King sang about living in a "fool's paradise", and boy we're just living la vida loca around here. Then again, these days it seems that as long as political will commands it mountains will be moved, so I won't throw cold water on a face it - fix it approach. Let's see how we can put it to work, shall we?

1. The NCF - Is a new private/public entity to handle Crop Over really going to work? Isn't the "politicising" and "friendsing" going on at the NCF part of the reason why they can't seem to get things right over there? Since these two variables are rampant in Barbados now it's only a matter of time before Crop Over's back in the same mess again. Wouldn't the problem be better fixed by doing some spring cleaning at the NCF? And I don't mean of old files.

2. Squatting - After witnessing Jamaica's battle with squatting I was hoping it would never occur here, but it's here, people. Socio economic reasons apart, we know they're some people who ain't looking to buy a piece of land if they can drop a house on a seemingly available lot. Added to that, there're stories of illegal immigrants moving into abandoned properties all over the island. We better face it fast and as for fixing it, for starters the PM should tell his Ministers to stop encouraging people to squat and build illegal extensions on to housing units....

3. The QEH - Wuhloss, where to start? In my opinion a summary of the situation is that there're some good people there doing a hard job under conditions that are less than ideal. No one seems to want to really face what's happening there so how can we fix it? All I know is that certain people must be profiting from the current state of affairs there....

4. The state of the roads - Are the private contractors who reconstruct/pave our roads really worth the pay cheques they're getting? Why are potholes appearing after a heavy rainfall? Why are more and more private contractors doing the jobs previously performed by Government? Are Government workers doing a bad job or does Government just feel like supporting the private sector?

5. Illegal Vending/PSV operators/illegal parking. Why can't these areas be properly regularised? If the policy is for no vending to be allowed in certain areas of the City, why are vendors allowed to set up shop for a few months and then one day out of the blue the Police swoops down on them? The same Police pass the vendors day in and out and never do anything. I know vendors need to make a living but what's the point of making laws if they're not being enforced?

As far as I know PSV operators are to wear uniforms, remove heavy tints from the vehicles and turn off the loud music. So, why am I seeing/hearing these operators flauting the law every day? Why can't we make the owners of these vehicles share the responsibility for the misdeeds of their workers?

Like the vendors, illegally parked cars can sit in the City day in and out with nary a ticket. Then one day out of the blue, a policeman will ticket the entire street. When these rules aren't enforced they create bad habits.

There're more issues we need to face and fix but I'm gonna stop there before I depress myself. I'm just weary of those in authority dancing all around a problem, throwing more money at an issue or creating a new board/entity when, more often than not, the solution is so simple. Maybe one day we'll get it right.

Photo: Winston Agard, a squatter at Rock Hall, St. Philip, pleads for assistance from PM Arthur

Kanye West - Stronger

Monday, August 20, 2007

Amy Winehouse - Rehab

Rihanna's MTV video of the year competitors

Now that I've sorted out posting videos inside the blog, I thought that each day this week I'd post the videos that are competing against Rihanna's Umbrella for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards, which will air September 9. Next week we can vote on which one is likely to win the VMA.

The videos are Rehab by Amy Winehouse; What Goes Around by Justin Timberlake (contains expletives, be warned); Stronger by Kanye West and Irreplaceable by Beyonce. Remember, if you click on the videos and a message about "embedding not allowed", etc. come up, just click it again. Enjoy.

Prayers for Jamaica, Caymans

Hi, peoples. Hope everyone had a good weekend. I'm anxiously awaiting word from friends in Jamaica on how they how fared with Hurricane Dean. I got a call through on Saturday night and they were battened down and waiting to see how things would unfold. So far there are reports of at least one death.

And now Dean is headed for the Cayman Islands, which are severely vulnerable to storm surge. I emailed a friend there and she said that thankfully they're only experiencing tropical storm force winds, nothing so far over 60 mph. By mid afternoon today Dean should have passed them. Thank God for that.

Get the latest photos on Dean's destruction here.

Photo: Caribbean Terrace in East Kingston after the passage of Hurricane Dean.

Saskia does damage control

You've got to hand it to former Banks Girl Saskia Griffith. If most people had to live down the fallout from her chocolate faux pas they would be in bed for days curled up in foetal position. Instead, she attempted to put her side of the story in yesterday's Sunday Sun. She has guts, I have to give her that.

However, Saskia still has a lot to learn about damage control. The whole idea is to try to spin the situation to your advantage, not to make yourself look more foolish than you did in the first place. I'll quote directly from the article:

1. "I feel the need to clarify my position...I was shocked to see in the article ... that I had previously been warned 'that such actions were not in keeping with the image the brewery would want to project for its product line'. I wish to categorically state that this statement is completely untrue and that at no other time during my association with Banks have I ever been cautioned by the management of Banks nor has there been any discussion about my actions or any promotions in which I was involved," she said.

So, Banks Breweries is to blame for not including in the contract that their Calendar Girls shouldn't appear topless in public? I guess they better get their lawyers to work on that loophole.

2. Calling Banks' actions hypocritical, Saskia noted that photographs of previous Banks Calendar Girl winners, featured on the Banks website (up until a few days ago) "were more explicit and revealing than anything I have done in any promotion in which I have participated". She also accused some members of the public of such hypocrisy.

I haven't seen all of the Banks posters ever made, but I sure never saw one featuring a topless pin-up with chocolate smeared on her. As for us being hypocritical, that's exactly my point. The same men (and women) who were drooling over Saskia at the party or while looking at the pictures on the internet would not have been happy at all if she was their wife, girlfriend, sister or daughter.

3. "It lasted all of 15 minutes because my body heat would've gotten to the chocolate. It was supposed to be artistic; a picture of a chocolate mannequin."

I'm glad she cleared that up. I thought girlfriend had been drugged but she was just being "artistic". Excuse me...

4. I think the setting and event were appropriate for that because it was Crop-Over. It wasn't like it was December and we decided to do something like that," she argued.

I guess that says a lot about what Crop Over has come to. Maybe the NCF can work a similar chocolate affair into next year's festival calendar.

5. After the termination of her contract, she was paid all monies due to her which, she thought, was a clear sign that she wasn't in the wrong.

Sweetheart, it's standard to pay out persons when you terminate them before their contract is up....

6. She said Power X Four was known for doing things "outside of the box" and, on previous occasions, did promotions where girls were also topless and wore body paint.

Okay, I see the pattern here. Bad luck then for Saskia she was the one plastered all over the internet.

There's more but you get the picture. She should have just gone with the "I was drunk outa my mind and didn't know what I was doing" story. My beef isn't only with Saskia anyway, but with the way women are objectified in general. Women's bodies are used to sell every product imaginable, and it's only going to get worse as the world becomes more and more sexual.

All I want is for women not to sell themselves short and to realise that their real power lies between their ears and not between their you know where. But, who am I kidding. If Saskia was in the US she would have gotten a book deal and modelling contract outa this....


Friday, August 17, 2007

Ten tattoo do's and don'ts

Most of us can agree that tattoos seem to be the symbol of 'hipness' du jour. Old and young, Black and White are sporting tattoos of varying colours, styles and meanings. I have nothing against them personally, but I swear that some people just wake up and decide to get a tattoo without any proper thought of what they're permanently stamping on their bodies. Where they place these tattoos is another eyebrow raiser.

Anyhoo, I decided to come up with 10 do's and don'ts for sporting tattoos:
1. Do keep it simple, stupid! Thinking big is usually an admirable quality, but not necessarily when you're getting a tattoo. How many times have you seen an oversized lower back tattoo (also known as the 'tramp stamp') peering out from under a lady's top and wonder what the heck she was thinking? Simple is always better.
2. Don't tattoo your breasts! There are hundreds of women walking around Barbados right now with all kinds of designs on their chests, and I wonder if they know that gravity ain't a female's friend. Besides, that can't be good for the breasts at all.
3. Find out what tattoo symbols mean. That Sanskrit or Kanji symbol might look real cool on your shoulder blade or ankle, but I don't think you'd be too happy if you found out its meaning was 'moron'.
4. Don't get multiple, multi-coloured tattoos. This picture says it all. She looks like she was mutilated.
5. Don't place multiple tattoos on one limb, especially on a leg. It looks like you have a skin disease.
6. Women, please don't place tattoos on your upper arms, 'cause you look butch as wuh. Unless that's the look you're going for....
7. Never tattoo your boyfriend's/girlfriend's name on your body. Partners come and go but tattoos remain, unless you can afford painful laser surgery. Even the Tattoo Queen herself, Angelina Jolie, learnt this the hard way, erasing her ex-husband Billy Bob's name from her arm after their divorce. Don't tattoo your own name on yourself either. Unless you're in the habit of forgetting it....

8. Never tattoo curse words on your body. You'd think this was a given, but alas, no. Remember, you won't be a rebellious 20-something forever; at some point you might care what other people think of you.
9. No offence, but don't bother with a tattoo if your skin tone is very dark. The tattoos are barely visible and coloured tattoos on dark skin tones look extra weird.
10. Men, tattoos won't transform you instantly into a macho stud. There's nothing sadder than a guy with biceps like ping-pong balls with huge tats plastered on his arms. Try hitting the weight room instead.

Have a good weekend!

NB: It was not my intention to offend anyone with this post. It is done tongue-in-cheek and based on what I was seeing in my own country. I have nothing personal against tattoos, far from, actually. So get a grip, peoples!

A mighty strange all clear

Hi peoples. God has once again been good to Barbados and we were spared the worst of Hurricane Dean. My prayers are with the islands of St. Lucia, Martinique and others being affected by Dean at this time.

When I heard on the news at 7 a.m. that the all clear had been given I was surprised, 'cause in St. Michael the wind was howling and the rain beating down. The only thing that was clear to me then that if I stepped outside I might get smacked in the head with a shaddock from our tree. At least there wasn't any thunder or lightning during the night, otherwise our dog Rover would have kept the whole neighbourhood awake.

Which brings me to something else...some folks here slept like babies through the passage of Dean! When the wind began to howl around 2 a.m. I woke up and remained awake until around 4 a.m., and I don't consider myself a light sleeper.

But we Bajans can do some strange things when it comes to 'bad weather', as we call it, anyway. Many of us treat storms or hurricanes like a spectator sport, going to the beach to check out the waves crashing in. Some would rush into the supermarket at the 11th hour to collect hurricane supplies (usually corned beef, sardines and biscuits), though a lot more folks are stocking up early in the hurricane season now.

Then there are those who consider the passage of a hurricane a vacation day, actually going to the video store to stock up on tapes of dvds! As if you can enjoy a movie while your roof is sailing away. God bless us Bajans, we're some lucky people.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stay safe

Hi folks, today was super busy preparing for Hurricane Dean. The weather has definitely changed from the sunny skies we had earlier today.

You can see the latest satellite photo here and the latest hurricane advisory here.

So peoples, stay safe out there and batten down the hatches. God bless.

Thursday mix: Videos + Rihanna gets covered

Hi peoples. Hope all the Cheese readers in the Eastern Caribbean are moving swiftly with their preparations for Hurricane Dean. We all need to pray extra hard right now. I'm going to post most of the light items I usually reserve for Fridays today, because I suspect blogging will be out of the question tomorrow.

I finally got around to posting videos in the main body of the blog, so you'll see them pop up from time to time. If a message comes up about you not being able to see it etc., (like the one below) just click on it again and the video will open in You Tube. God bless technology.

If there was any doubt that our girl Rih-Rih is a star, it's official now. Her hit tune Umbrella is being covered. That it's being covered by singer/actress Mandy Moore is a dubious compliment, I must say. Anyhoo, you can watch the video here. I don't know whether to laugh or applaud....

Rihanna spent some quality time with her little brother Rajad recently, taking him to People Magazine's Music Lounge featuring Rihanna event.

And Young, Black and Fabulous got hold of a photo of Rihanna at age 10. She hasn't changed a bit...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rihanna - Don't Stop The Music

Check out the video for Rihanna's catchy new single "Don't Stop the Music". It's a great follow-up to "Shut Up and Drive".

Preparing for Tropical Storm Dean

Hi peoples. Tropical Storm Dean is headed this way, so I wanted to post up some preparation tips, sites and numbers you may need to know.

Emergency supply list

Water, enough to last 2 weeks
Foods that do not require cooking:
Canned or salted fish and meat
Packaged oats
Biscuits and crackers
Condensed or powdered milk
Canned soups and vegetables
Coffee, Tea.
Flour, Rice, Cornmeal, Sugar and Salt
Infant formula

Battery-operated radio
Extra batteries
Matches and candles, Hurricane lamps
Bleach and other cleaners
First Aid Kit: petroleum jelly, aspirin, eye wash, bandages, cotton,
diarrhoea medication, antacid , laxative
Tissue, soap, sanitary napkins
Disposable cups, plates, utensils
Can opener
Large plastic trash bags
Containers for water and fuel storage
Coal or oil stove, barbeque grill
Cooking utensils
Portable cooler
100 feet of rope, Tape
Needle and thread, scissors
Blankets and towels
Mosquito repellent
Tarpailin (canvas or plastic)
Storage tips for water and food

Store enough water to last 2 weeks for each person in your household. A normal active person requires a minimum of 1 litre of water per day for drinking and food preparation.
Water should be stored in clean, well covered containers.
Label the containers with the current date and renew your drinking supply each month.
Store emergency food in waterproof containers.
Arrange items so that those stored first will be used first.
Observe expiration dates on packaged foods.
Wrap bread, cookies and crackers, dry good in plastic bags and keep in tight containers.
Your storage area should be dry, cool and free from contamination by insects, poisons and other chemicals.

General preparation tips
Look over your insurance policy to insure it provides adequate coverage.
Check the storm surge history and elevation of your area.
Make an inventory of possessions.
Photograph your house and all the rooms inside for insurance purposes.
Make sure your roofing is properly fastened and secure. make all necessary repairs.
Obtain lumber, plywood, and concrete nails for battening up.
Know your evacuation route.
Organize a place to meet with your family should you become separated during the storm.
Clear your yard and drains of debris.
Prune trees limbs that are close to your house. They can cause damage to your home or utility wires during a storm.
Find a place to move your boat in an emergency.
If your home is at risk, plan in advanced where you will stay. Listen out for GIS advisories for the location of the nearest hurricane shelter.

When a hurricane threatens

Turn refrigerator and freezer to the coldest level. Freeze water in plastic containers.
Sanitize bath tubs and fill with water.
Tie down or bring in all outdoor objects (such as awnings, patio furniture, garbage cans).
Secure or remove satellite dishes, TV or radio antennae from roofs.
Pick fruits such as coconuts, mangoes etc., from trees. Clear your yard and drains of debris.
Remove all pictures, clocks, books, figurines, tools, office equipment, appliances and important papers (passports, birth certificates etc.); wrap them in plastic or in waterproof containers; and store in a safe room.
Turn off electricity at the main switch and remove TV and radio antennae from roofs.
Stock up on water and non-perishable foods. Refill prescriptions needed.
Fill your car with gas to avoid long lines after the hurricane. Also fill containers for portable generators.
Park your car in a place that is safest from falling trees and utility poles.
If you are in a high-rise, know the location of the nearest stairways. Don't use the elevator.
Batten down windows and doors with shutters or lumber. Wedge sliding glass doors with a bar.
Turn off electricity from main switch 24 hours before the storm is expected to hit.
Unplug major appliances.

During the hurricane

Be calm! Your ability to act logically is very important.
Stay inside. Do not go outside unless it is absolutely necessary.
Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered. A windowless or interior room or hallway is usually the safest.
Listen to the radio for information.
If you are in a two-storey house, stay on the first floor.
If you are in a multiple-storey building, take refuge on the first or second floors. Interior stairwells and areas around elevator shafts are usually the strongest part of a building.
If your house shows signs of breaking up, stay under a table or stand under a door frame.
Do not go outside during the calm when the eye of the hurricane is passing.

After the storm

Wait until you hear on the radio or television that the dangerous winds are definitely out of your area.
Do not go sight-seeing.
Do not go outside barefooted. Avoid wearing open shoes and watch out for sharp debris.
Do not use phones or CB radios unless vital. Keep lines clear for emergency calls.
Bury all dead animals as soon as possible.
Beware of downed power lines, weakened bridges and washed-out roads, and weakened trees.
Purify drinking water by boiling or by adding bleach, 2 drops of bleach per litre of water, 4 drops if the water is cloudy. Do not purify all your water at once.
After adding bleach, let water stand for 30 minutes before drinking.
Use perishable food first , then non- perishable foods and staples after.
Do not cook more than is needed for one meal.
Be alert to prevent fires.
Report broken sewer or water mains to local authorities.
Be sure to check your house for structural damage before moving back in.

Important websites
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency
National Hurricane Centre
Atlantic Satellite
NASA Satellite

Important Emergency numbers (Barbados)

Police - 211
Fire - 311
Ambulance (QEH) - 511
Barbados Light and Power - 436-9000
Central Emergency Relief Organisation - 427-8513
CERO Weather Hotline - 976-2376